In an article for Computerworld published this morning, Chi Onwurah MP, Labour’s shadow minister for innovation, science and digital infrastructure, called on the Government to set out a compelling vision of the future of the communications landscape.
The continued delays in publishing the green paper have fuelled concerns that it will not be adequate to address the needs of industry in the 2020s.
Chi Onwurah, a communications engineer for 23 years who worked for Ofcom immediately before becoming an MP, wrote:
“It appears that we will be presented with a document which fixes a few tactical issues and addresses a number of short term concerns. A green paper which may ‘consider’ some of the incredible communication technology transformations, the extensive behavioural changes and the revolutions in markets and business models which are happening but which will say absolutely nothing.
“Now is the right time for a green paper. But it has to say something. We need a vision of where we are heading not a collection of disparate measures and fluffy words.”
In the wake of last week’s Mobile World Congress, Chi suggested three over-arching themes that could be used to set out a vision for Comms 2022:
All on line
In the UK broadband take-up is now over 75 percent, by 2022 it should be our first truly ubiquitous network. If it is a monopoly, as looks increasingly likely, it will wield huge power.
As the distinction between fixed and mobile erodes, spectrum will become even more valuable and its geographical fragmentation even harder to justify.
All in the cloud
The cloud offers the economic advantage of reduced costs through shared resources so we should see more sophisticated services more widely available. The industry’s ability to gather evermore data about user behaviour means these services will be individualised to user needs. However, ‘Big Data’ as this is called, also raises privacy and human rights concerns, made more worrying if competition is limited to a small number of big players.